FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Sunday 4/11/21
The beauty of daily fantasy baseball is that the top targets are different each and every day. Whether it's the right-handed catcher who destroys left-handed pitching or the mid-range hurler facing a depleted lineup, you're not going to find yourself using the same assets time after time.
While this breaks up the monotony, it can make it hard to decide which players are primed to succeed on a given day. We can help bridge that gap.
In addition to our custom optimal lineups, you can check out our batting and pitching heat maps, which show the pieces in the best spot to succeed on that slate. Put on the finishing touches with our games and lineups page to see who's hitting where and what the weather looks like, and you'll have yourself a snazzy-looking team to put up some big point totals.
If you need help getting started on that trek, here are some of the top options on the board today. We'll be focusing exclusively on the main slate.
Pitchers to Target
The good news is we have a whopping 10-game slate, which is always fun. The bad news is that there are no great pitching options, so be prepared to get weird.
Jordan Montgomery ($8,500 on FanDuel) is my pick of the bunch, but I say that with very little conviction. Due to injuries, Montgomery has logged just 81 1/3 innings since the start 2018, so he's definitely a bit of a wild card. He has been good when he's been able to pitch, though, spinning a 3.98 SIERA, 23.4% strikeout rate and 12.3% swinging-strike rate in those 81 1/3 frames. He struck out seven across six shutout innings in his 2021 opener, and he's taking on a Tampa Bay Rays offense that is fairly pedestrian.
After Montgomery, it's slim pickings, and it's not like Montgomery is that amazing of an option in the first place. Matt Shoemaker ($7,800) catches my eye, as does Logan Allen ($5,900), though there is plenty of risk with both.
Shoemaker recorded five punchouts in six innings of one-run ball in his first start of 2020. He went 92 pitches in that one, so workload shouldn't be much of a worry. He's shown swing-and-miss stuff in the past and owns a 23.5% strikeout rate in 94 1/3 innings since the start of 2018. The matchup against the Seattle Mariners is a good one as Seattle holds the eighth-highest strikeout rate (25.0%) in 2021's small sample. The Mariners' 3.74 implied total is the lowest of the slate as of Sunday morning, but we're missing a few totals early on.
Tied for the lowest-salaried pitcher, Allen is someone I'll take a shot on in a few lineups. He gets a dream date with the Detroit Tigers, an offense that FanGraphs' WAR projections give the fifth-fewest offensive WAR the rest of the way. In 2020, the Tigers had the highest strikeout rate (27.3%) as well as the fourth-worst wOBA (.303). Allen boasts a good minor-league track record, including a 24.5% strikeout rate in 57 2/3 Triple-A innings as part of the San Diego Padres' organization in 2019. The whiffs haven't yet translated to the bigs, but the matchup makes him worth a look.
Stacks to Target
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals will be taking their hacks against southpaw Brett Anderson, who is exactly the kind of pitcher we want to stack against. Since the start of 2019, Anderson has a 13.1% strikeout rate and 4.99 SIERA over 228 innings while allowing a 39.7% hard-hit rate. Righties got to him for a 43.9% hard-hit rate in 2019, his last full season, so that's where we'll put most of our focus. The last time the Cards saw a lefty, everyone in their lineup hit from the right side.
Nolan Arenado ($4,000) and Paul Goldschmidt ($3,800) are core pieces to a St. Louis stack. Goldschmidt blasted southpaws to the tune of a .439 wOBA last year. Arenado had a 40.4% hard-hit rate and 53.2% fly-ball rate in the split a season ago.
Paul DeJong ($3,200) put up a 40.7% hard-hit rate and 42.0% fly-ball rate with the platoon advantage back in 2019. Switch-hitters Tommy Edman ($3,000) and Dylan Carlson ($3,100) are worth a look, too. Edman will likely man the leadoff spot while Carlson, a top prospect, has already popped three taters this season. Tyler O'Neill ($2,700) offers power at a modest salary if he's able to go after exiting early on Saturday.
The slate's highest implied total belongs to the Cleveland Indians, who own a 5.32 clip for their date with Jose Urena. Urena has been a dude we've stacked against in previous campaigns, and 2021 should be no different. In 111 innings since the start of 2019, the righty has struggled to a 5.09 SIERA and 16.0% strikeout rate while giving up a 40.0% hard-hit rate.
Jose Ramirez ($4,100) is the crown jewel of the Indians' lineup, and our model projects him as the slate's number-two bat. He posted a .362 wOBA and 50.0% fly-ball rate against righties in 2020. In 2019, he had a 42.5% hard-hit rate and 44.2% fly-ball rate in the split. The salary shouldn't be too hard to get to given the state of the pitching options, but the one negative with Ramirez is that he'll likely be a chalk bat.
If you want to fade him and still load up on Cleveland, there are plenty of options: Franmil Reyes ($2,800), Eddie Rosario ($3,200), Cesar Hernandez ($2,700), Josh Naylor ($2,500), Jake Bauers ($2,100) and Ben Gamel ($2,200). Bauers and Naylor will have the platoon advantage and may be slotted back-to-back in the lower part of the order.
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox have an appealing 4.99 implied total, and with J.D. Martinez out, they don't have a starter with a salary above $3,100. The savings aren't as important on this slate because we're not trying to build around a top-shelf ace, but they still matter.
Boston is up against Jorge Lopez, a guy who has surrendered a 38.7% hard-hit rate for his career while punching out just 18.4% of hitters. Lefties have rocked Lopez over his career, registering a .374 wOBA and 40.5% hard-hit rate against him.
That steers us toward lefties Rafael Devers ($2,900) and Alex Verdugo ($2,700). Both should be in the good spots in the order, and they come at easy-to-love salaries. Devers had a monster .407 wOBA with the platoon advantage in his last full season (2019). Marwin Gonzalez ($2,500) and Franchy Cordero ($2,200) will also hit from the left side. Gonzalez has swiped two bases already in 2021, and Cordero has a 44.6% career hard-hit rate against righties.
There is one right-handed Boston bat we should go after -- Xander Bogaerts ($3,100). Among hitters with a salary above $3,000, Bogaerts is the top point-per-dollar option, according to our algorithm.